Why does the sciatic nerve hurt

The sciatic nerve runs from the small of the back to the legs. When something presses on them, like a slipped disc or a bone spur, sciatica occurs. You may have a burning, numbness, weakness, or pain sensation. Some people say it feels like pins and needles, while others say it’s more like receiving an electric shock or being stabbed with a knife. However, it feels, there are many ways to get relief.



Give the Sciatic Nerve time

“Wait and see” may not be what you want to hear when you are in pain, but it works. The passage of time is probably the best proven treatment. About 80% – 90% of people with sciatic nerve pain get better in a few weeks.

Get up

While a little extra pampering may be in order, don’t stay off your feet for long. Too much bed rest can weaken your muscles. If you’re not comfortable with your regular workout, it’s smart to listen to your body signals. But try not to sit too long or the pain may get worse.

Keep moving

If your pain is not too severe, it is a good idea to stretch, take short walks, and do any other physical activity that you feel. Trying to stretch your lower back is especially important as this is where something may be pinching the sciatic nerve.

Heat things up or cool them down

Heat and cold can be opposite, but both can help you feel comfortable. Cold treatment is generally best for an injury that just happened. After about 72 hours , doctors generally suggest switching to heat. Use an ice pack that is wrapped in a towel or try a heating pad for about 15-20 minutes at a time. Be careful not to burn your skin


Ask about a recipe for the Sciatic Nerve

If home remedies aren’t helping, talk to your doctor. There are many prescription medications, such as muscle relaxers and higher potency NSAIDs, that could make you feel better. Seizure medications, like gabapentin, also seem to help some people.

Work with a physical therapist

Physical therapy can help you correct poor posture or strengthen the muscles that support your lower back. The therapist will create an exercise program, which includes stretching techniques, that you can do at home.

An epidural

Still not feeling better? Your doctor may suggest that you give yourself an epidural injection (an injection of steroid medicine into the spine), especially if you have had pain for more than 6 months. Studies show mixed results, however, about how well it works. Talk to your doctor about the pros and cons.

Try acupuncture

This ancient practice of Chinese medicine is beginning to gain the respect of traditional Western practitioners, and for good reason. Some research shows that it can work even better than traditional back pain treatment. There is little risk as long as you find a licensed professional.

Take a yoga class

It may not be a panacea, but it can help you feel better. Try a type called Iyengar yoga, which emphasizes good posture. Research shows that it cuts pain and allows you to move more easily.

Get a massage

A professional massage is not just about relaxation. Research shows that massage therapy relieves pain and improves the way you can move your lower back. It also helps blood flow, which encourages your body to heal itself. Find a therapist who specializes in back pain and who can also do some assisted stretching in your session.

Taking charge of stress

No, the pain is not “all in your head”, but your emotions may play a role. Stress makes muscles tense and also makes pain seem worse. Biofeedback, which shows you how your thinking and behavior affect your breathing and heart rate, may offer some relief. You can also try cognitive behavioral therapy. You will work with a mental health expert who will help you change your behaviors and thoughts.



When to call your doctor

Sciatica is generally painful but not dangerous. But there are times when you will want to call your doctor right away. Contact her if you have a fever, blood in your urine, trouble controlling your intestines or bladder, or pain so bad that it wakes you up at night.

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